There are many health benefits of turmeric, the golden spice often used in Asian cooking. It is part of the ginger plant family and we eat the brightly coloured roots, mostly dried as a powdered spice. In recent times, turmeric is enjoying a revival as a serious health food supplement. But how exactly does turmeric benefit health?
One of the compounds in turmeric that is most beneficial to health is curcumin, and this is what gives it that bright yellow colour.
Here’s our guide to the top five health benefits of turmeric, and ways you can get more of it in your diet.
Turmeric Health Benefits
1. Anxiety and Depression – Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, and this may be beneficial in relieving symptoms of anxiety and depression.
2. Anti-inflammatory – Inflammation occurs naturally all over the body. It is how the body protects itself when recovering from injuries, fighting infections, viruses and more. But, long-term inflammation can also cause problems in the body, and lead to conditions such as heart problems, cancer and other illnesses. Turmeric is a proven, powerful anti-inflammatory that may help improve chronic inflammation and the heath issues it can create.
3. Antioxidant – the body works hard to rid itself of the pollutants that infiltrate it each day. These are known as free radicals.
Here’s a quick biology lesson! Free radicals are unstable atoms that are created when the body breaks down food, or when we are exposed to pollutants. As these unstable atoms need to borrow an electron to stabilise, so they steal them from other atoms in the body cells. This causes a chain reaction that can damage cells, and left unchecked, this leads to further health problems over time.
The body can get a helping hand to remove free radicals by a diet rich in antioxidants. Curcumin, found in turmeric is a very effective antioxidant that helps find and remove free radicals.
4. Cancer Inhibiting – Studies are ongoing into the affect that turmeric has on helping fight and prevent cancer. Some results show that turmeric helps slow down the growth of cancer cells, helping to reduce spread. Other studies are looking into how turmeric may help with combating the carcinogens found in processed foods. While studies are ongoing, the effect that turmeric has on slowing or preventing cancer growth has merit.
5. Slowing Alzheimer’s – Curcumin, an active compound in turmeric, is able to cross the blood/brain barrier. This has led to many studies into its effect on diseases such as Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. A daily dose of turmeric may be effective in slowing down the onset of Alzheimer’s as well as slowing the effects it has on the brain.
Easy Ways to Eat more Turmeric
One of the problems when eating turmeric for health is that it is not easily absorbed into the body through the stomach. Thankfully, there are ways to increase the bioavailability of the compounds.
Luckily, when used in foods such as curry and other spicy sauces, soups or as a marinade for chicken and fish, turmeric is delicious! Cooking turmeric with an oil, such as olive oil, is said to increase the absorption rate in the body.
You can also use black pepper with turmeric to increase the absorption into the body. Black pepper contains a compound called piperine and that increases how well turmeric is absorbed.
Some people like to make turmeric tea or add to milky drinks such as latte. You can also add a spoonful to health drinks and smoothies.
To make sure you gain the full health benefits of turmeric, you might prefer opting for a supplement. Also, turmeric in capsule form is a fast and convenient way to get a higher dosage, without enduring the bitter taste.
Some of the best high-strength turmeric capsules are:
Nutravita organic turmeric capsules with ginger and black pepper give you a high strength supplement at great value.
A daily serving of two capsules contains 1340mg of Organic Turmeric, 80mg of Organic Ginger and 20mg of Organic Black Pepper.
180 capsules will last for 3 months. Check for latest price.
How much Turmeric should I take each day?
Studies into turmeric dosage suggests that health benefits are gained when you take between 500 – 2000mg of turmeric per day.
Considerations when consuming turmeric
When eating turmeric in the amounts it is found in foods, it is safe to eat as much as you like.
But, if you take turmeric as a supplement in a capsule, you may need to be careful. Some capsules have a high concentration of turmeric, much higher than you would normally consume in a typical day of eating.
If you have gallstones or problems with your bile duct, it is best to avoid taking turmeric.
Also, turmeric may slow down blood clotting, so those with clotting or bleeding disorders may also want to avoid turmeric.
Do you have any interesting turmeric recipes? Or have you found turmeric to be helpful in managing a health condition? Please share in the comments.